"I never wanted Soulfly to be a band like Metallica with the same four guys," said guitarist/frontman Max Cavalera around the time he was working on the group's fourth studio album, '04's "Prophecy." "On every Soulfly album, we've changed the line up and it will probably continue that way. In order to do that, I had to start from the inside out and bring in people who caught my attention, that I had never played with before, and create this."
Cavalera certainly got his wish. By '03, following the departure of three members, the Brazil native was the only original member still standing.
Soulfly started six years earlier when Calavera left Sepultura, a Thrash Metal group he founded in the '80s with his brother Igor. Aside from Metal, Soulfly stood out by incorporating Brazilian tribal rhythms and world music into their songs. The group's self-titled debut featured performances by Fred Durst and DJ Lethal of Limp Bizkit and the Deftones' Chico Moreno. The album did well enough to earn the group an '98 Ozzfest mainstage appearance but their tours were restricted to clubs.
Two years later, "Primitive" rolled out. Guest shots included Slipknot's Corey Taylor, Slayer's Tom Araya and Moreno. The album peaked at #32 on the Billboard album chart - the group's best showing to date - which led to another Ozzfest show and an opening slot with Pantera, among others.
Following the album's release, drummer Joe Nunez departed. He had replaced Mayorga, who dropped out prior to "Primitive." Now Mayorga returned. But not for long. With the conclusion of a world tour to support the band's third effort, the aptly titled, "3," Mayorga, Mikey Doling and Marcelo Dias bailed.
Nunez was back behind the drum kit for "Prophecy," which preceded '05's live DVD, The Song Remains Insane (a play on the Led Zeppelin film The Song Remains The Same).
"Dark Ages" dropped later in the year. As he did on ""Prophecy," former Megadeth bassist Dave Ellefson contributed to the album. Many critics felt the set was reminiscent of Cavalera's early days with Sepultura.
"Conquer" hit in '08. For the 11th Annual D-Low Memorial Show in Tempe, Cavalera's side band Cavalera Conspiracy opened for Soulfly.
Soulfly recorded their seventh album, "Omen," in L.A. with Cavalera and former member Logan Mader producing.
Within months of the its release, and in keeping with the band's volatile nature, Bobby Burns announced his departure. Johny Chow became the band's third bassist. But the revolving door continued. Chow was soon history, replaced by Tony Campos formerly of Static-X and Ministry.
Then Nunez walked again, with David Kinkade signing on. But after logging a year-and-a-half with the group Kinkade announced his retirement, leaving Soulfly after their show in Bangkok. That opened the door for Max's son Zyon, to take over on drums.
Amid the turmoil, Soufly managed to release '12's "Enslaved" and '13's "Savages."
Cavalera's autobiography "My Bloody Roots: From Sepultura To Soulfly And Beyond" dropped in '14 but not without its own issues. Cavalera was eventually ordered to pay over $13,000 in damages to his ex-sister-in-law for allegedly libeling her in the book. He called her a 'bitch'.
Soulfly looked even more like a family affair in '15 when Campos announced via his Facebook page that he was leaving the group to join Fear Factory. Igor Cavalera Jr., Zyon's brother, landed the gig.
According to the senior Cavalera, Soulfly's 10th album, "Archangel," had a 'very exotic' feel. He added that the '15 release was a departure from '13's "Savages," but still "heavy as hell."
2005 Dark Ages
The combination of worldbeat and Nu Metal is unique and most pronounced on Soulfly's debut. Sophomore album "Primitive," veers toward Red Hot Chili Peppers' rhythms, Soundgarden Grunge and Rap Metal.
The tribal rhythms move to the background from "Dark Ages" on with the band taking a harder, fiercer, more doomed stance with each effort, just about maxing out with "Omen."